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Illustrated Django Book Surveys Gypsy Jazz Phenomenon

MichaelHorowitzMichaelHorowitz SeattleAdministrator
edited November 2006 in Welcome Posts: 5,817




Illustrated Django Book Surveys Gypsy Jazz Phenomenon
Date: October
13, 2006
Written By:
Nick Breul


imageLet’s
face it, packing up your guitar and running off to Eastern Europe to
join a caravan of gypsies really isn’t for everyone. So why face the
harsh life of the road when you can curl up with a book that will
practically take you there? Django Reinhardt and the
Illustrated History of Gypsy Jazz

by Michael Dregni, Alain Antonietto and Anne Legrand does its best to
bring the allure of Django’s legend straight to the reader, with over
400 photos and illustrations.

Ranging from the Jazz Age
in Paris during the 1920s to Reinhardt’s
undeniable influence on many of today’s jazz and acoustic players, the
authors dug deep into rare archival photographs, posters, programs,
ticket stubs, guitars and paintings.

The book is available now
from Speck Press and lists for $25.

image






«1

Comments

  • skiski Boston, USANew
    Posts: 86
    Hi - Has anyone read this book yet? Are there any reviews?

    Thanks,
    ski
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,168
    ski wrote:
    Hi - Has anyone read this book yet? Are there any reviews?
    Yes here - REVIEW ....but you will need to ignore the subsequent vulgarity!
  • brandoneonbrandoneon Alpes-de-Haute-Provence, France✭✭✭
    Posts: 171
    This book is a good effort, with incredible images that do an excellent job placing jazz manouche in a historical context. However, the text leaves something to be desired, with its combination of (numerous) typos and grammatical errors, and in general a more "dry" style than Dregni's Django bio. Unfortunately, these elements give the impression that the book was rushed into print with little attention to proofing (there's even a photo of Gusti Malha that mysteriously has the fragment "bowtie. Collection David Reinhardt" superimposed on it). Once you wade through the sloppiness, the text is interesting: I particularly liked Alain Antonietto's anecdote of acquiring Django's Busato guitar. Pedantics aside, it's a nice book to have.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,168
    brandoneon wrote:
    However, the text leaves something to be desired, with its combination of (numerous) typos and grammatical errors,............ Unfortunately, these elements give the impression that the book was rushed into print with little attention to proofing.
    According to Dregni that is exactly what happened and he is not happy about it.
  • JackJack western Massachusetts✭✭✭✭
    Posts: 1,911
    brandoneon wrote:
    However, the text leaves something to be desired, with its combination of (numerous) typos and grammatical errors,............ Unfortunately, these elements give the impression that the book was rushed into print with little attention to proofing.
    According to Dregni that is exactly what happened and he is not happy about it.

    Too bad, but not too surprising given the time of year...Teddy, can you give us an idea of how it differs from the classic Cruickshank?
    cruickshank1011.jpg
    I'm sure there's a huge difference, I'm just looking for some details-are there many photos of today's players, are there a lot of 'unknown' photos, etc.

    I'd also be very interested to hear how you amassed your own collection, if you've got the time.

    Best,
    Jack.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,168
    Jack wrote:
    ...Teddy, can you give us an idea of how it differs from the classic Cruickshank?

    cruickshank1011.jpg
    There is no comparison. The quality of the reproduction is vastly better for one. There are many photos of past and present gypsy jazz players, including Django, that I guarantee you will not have seen before. Although I must concede Dregni's writing style is not to my taste, you will find a lot of extremely interesting stuff about the music in the extensive text that will be new to you.

    Again, on a personal basis, I found the visual presentation rather gimmicky and, to me, many photos are not shown to their best effect. Amazingly, one of the biggest spreads is given to a rather poor quality photo I gave Dregni of Joseph trudging back to his caravan with his guitar whereas other far better photos are shown disappointingly small.

    The book is not perfect but I would honestly heartily recommend it.
    Jack wrote:
    ...I'd also be very interested to hear how you amassed your own collection, if you've got the time.
    The question is probably more whether you have the time and patience to listen!.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 519
    I don't see the point of this nit-picking at MD's book. Everyone who is interested in the history of this music should feel at least a little gratitude to Michael (and others) for their years of work collecting the documents presented in the book, not to mention the work that went into collating and presenting it all.

    The book is presented in the manner that most similar books are presented today, the way it's laid out, I mean. It's going to be sold in bookstores - it's a book for everyone, not just obsessive Djangopaths and geeky historian types like Roger (and me, too for that matter). A couple of typos don't in any way detract from the quality of the content.

    Roger, I disagree with you about that image of Joseph returning to the caravan. The quality of it is no issue at all, but the fact is, it's a wonderfully evocative photograph and is one of my all time favorite photos of musicians anywhere. Many thanks for making this one available.

    It's a nicely printed and bound book full of rare and interesting documents, many of which would never have see the light of day if it wasn't for Michael Dregni's initiative and willingness to work very hard for little or no money. For that he deserves thanks, not petty sniping and whining about typos and printing errors.
  • Teddy DupontTeddy Dupont Deity
    Posts: 1,168
    Don't be so tetchy Scot. I have recommended the book several times and said it is a "must have" for gypsy jazz fans but that does not mean we should suspend critical judgement.

    It is the best book if its type that I have ever seen but there are things about it that I think could be improved, That is obviously a personal judgement as are all such judgements. I do not believe I should recommend anything without pointing out both the positives and the negatives. In this instance, I have made it quite clear that, to me, the positives far outweigh the negatives. But like all of us, Scot, it is not perfect.
  • scotscot Virtuoso
    Posts: 519
    Tetchy - I didn't know that y'all used that expression in the UK, Roger. Of course this book isn't perfect, though IMO most of it's shortcomings are faults of omission. My point was just that it's a nice book full of rarities, at a bargain price considering the quality of the content, paper, etc. Here among friends we don't usually bust anyone's chops over the shortcomings of their records. So there's likewise no need to be too tough on their books, especially when the worst criticisms seem to be directed at things like typos and layout. The content is the important thing, after all, and with one or two exceptions, it'd be hard to find much fault with that.

    Admittedly, I did not hesitate to crack down on "Djangomania", but my criticisms there were directed at the mean-spirited content and the director's general bad intent, and not the videography, which might have been good or bad, I don't remember.

    I think this is a terrific book with a few faults that don't in any way detract from it's overall value and charm.
  • Hey, I appreciate all the commentary on my new book DJANGO REINHARDT AND THE ILLUSTRATED HISTORY OF GYPSY JAZZ---altho I should say "our" new book, as so many people helped me compile it, from Roger to Scot to Ted, and on and on. Couldn't have done it without folks' help, that's for sure. I'd like to clear up one point, tho: Someone quoted me as saying I wasn't happy with the book, and that's far from the case. I'm absolutely thrilled by it, and hope all of you enjoy it as well. As to having a couple typos, yeah, what book doesn't? That's my fault coz my spelling's slower than my fingers can type, but hopefully it doesn't detract from the overall thrill of the 400-plus images. Speck Press of Denver bent over backward making this book come to life, graciously adding pages when I presented them with way too many photos, creating a too-cool design, and making it all happen on a tight schedule---I can't thank them all enough. And please, feel free to contact me if you notice an error, are curious about sources for a story, want to reprint a photo, or just want to chat (<!-- e --><a href="mailto:mdregni@voyageurpress.com">mdregni@voyageurpress.com</a><!-- e -->). Thanks! Michael Dregni
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